Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Good news to share

Sisters, Strangers, and Starting Over, the second book in the Quinceañera Club series (July 2010) has been included in the Recommended Reading List for this year's Children's Day/Books Day, El día de los niños/El día de los libros, April 30, 2010. My book is among the Young Adult titles. The Association of Library Service to Children (a division of the American Library Association) assembles the list, along with REFORMA (the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking) and the Association of American Publishers Publishing Latino Voices for America Task Force.

While my book was
not originally conceived as a Young Adult novel, I'm honored to be recognized by librarians. They were among the most important people in my early reading and writing life, and I still harbor the idea of going back to school to become a librarian. As if this honor weren't enough, I am equally thrilled to be included with authors like Oscar Hijuelos, Pat Mora, and Carlos Ruiz Safron.

Along with this good news, I received the Latino Books Month Recommended Reading List. That list, I'm pleased to say, includes some friends and colleagues:
Amelia Montes (who wrote the introduction to Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton's Who Would Have Thought It?), and John Phillip Santos. Amelia, John Phillip and I are members of the Macondo Writers' Collective. Other notable writers on the adult list include: Reyna Grande, Roberto Bolaño, Jorge Luis Borges, and Helen Thorpe. All this news is "hot off the press." When an active link to a website is available, I'll be sure to post so you can read both the Día and the Latino Books Month lists in their entirety.

Recognition for Sisters.... came earlier when Las Comadres selected it for their September 2010 book club read. I will also participate in their teleconference, which should be interesting. This newspaper writer is not used to being interviewed. I guess there's a first time for everything!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Check out the photos from the Quinceañera event April 17, 2010

Gloria Espitia, the liaison to the Mexican American community for the Austin History Center and her small crew of volunteers did a lovely job of pulling together many people, with many needs, into one tidy event. Gloria blames me for the event. I say it was all her idea. The one thing we agree on is that expanding the voices of women in the Mexican American Oral History Project in Austin is a must. That's why this event was so important: to spread the word and encourage more women and their families to come forward and tell their stories—quinceañera stories and others.

In this photo, I'm standing next to Teresa Carbajal Ravet's lovely signage for her new venture, Dulce Bread and Bookshop (which I've written about before). So excited for Teresa!!

To look at more photos, click here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Quinceañeras: A Celebration of Community, Family, Faith, and Symbolism

April 17, 2010 1pm-4:30pm
Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 River St., Austin, Texas

Gloria Espitia says this was all my idea. I say it was hers. We agree to disagree. My ultimate goal is to expand the oral histories from women in the Mexican American Archive at the Austin History Center (of which Gloria serves as custodian). Having used those archives, I saw that the history of women could stand to be beefed up a bit. So, when Damas... came out, I thought, what a great way to collect some of those stories, kind of like they do on StoryCorps on NPR.

Gloria has done an outstanding job of training volunteer interviewers, as well as pulling together this event, practically single-handed. I will be reading from Damas, sharing the stage with the esteemed Norma Cantú, who will share her research on the quinceañera and other rituals. I am hoping that Dulce Bread and Bookshop will be there to sell books. If not, I'll give you the skinny on site on how to get your very own copy of Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz.

Here's the program, thanks to the Austin History Center flyer:
• Belinda G. Acosta will read from her book Damas, Drama and Ana Ruiz
• Dr. Norma E. Cantu will speak on La Quinceañera: A Chicana/Latina Coming of Age Ritual.
• Fashion show sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Central Texas
• Panel discussion relating to the differences and similarities of quinceañeras in Latin@ cultures
• Oral history interviews conducted with families who have celebrated quinceañeras.

Event is free and open to the public

For more information: contact Gloria Espitia or call (512) 974-7498.